Audi is arguably the champion of delivering performance estate cars to roads around the world. Will this new RS 6 Avant take the fight to its accomplished opponent from Stuttgart, the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S?
The new Audi RS 6 Avant is due for its official launch at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September so, until we get behind the wheel, a walk-around will have to do.
Audi released their original performance estate car, the legendary RS 2, in 1994. That car was a revelation; it was capable of doing the school run, and it could take a family of five and their dog on a long road trip. But, the best bit was that it allowed the petrolhead to carve through their favourite twisties when the opportunity presented itself.
It's been 25 years since then, and the latest generation does all of this and more. Well, what else would you expect?
This RS 6 Avant is more massive than any other estate car in Audi's range. It's got a more powerful engine too, with the German manufacturer opting for the 592bhp, 800Nm, 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol instead of the 3.0 mild-hybrid diesel found in its S6 sibling.
The big V8 is coupled to an eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox that sends all those horses to Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system. The RS 6 will do 0-62 in 3.6 seconds and reach a limited 155mph top speed. However, it'll go on to 174mph if the 'Dynamic Package' is optioned, or 190mph with the box for 'Dynamic Package Plus' ticked.
As is the world of motor vehicles nowadays, the engine is a mild-hybrid setup, mated to a 48-volt system that helps save power when the car is coasting. It also uses cylinder-on-demand technology that shuts down specific cylinders at certain speeds, turning it into a four-cylinder to save fuel.
Climbing into the cockpit and, as you can imagine, occupants are faced with a raft of technology. It comes with the Audi Drive Select system that offers up a multitude of driving modes, including two new ones, namely RS1 and RS2. The former tightens up the steering, suspension and engine for when the road ahead beckons for a spirited drive. The latter, meanwhile, does all of this and turns of the ESC.
Other standard spec includes air-suspension, progressive steering, an upgraded infotainment system with Audi's Virtual Cockpit setup. There are huge Nappa leather seats and heaps of space.
It's the exterior that has most of us turning on the aircon though. Only the roof, front doors, and tailgate are carried over from the other estates in the model lineup. The RS 6, gets a new bonnet with a 'power bulge' and more aggressive front and rear bumpers. The car is also 40mm wider, flaring its arches to accommodate for those chunky 21-inch alloys.
All-in-all, the new Audi RS 5 Avant is a real head-turner. The question is, how will it stack up against the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S and the Porsche Macan? We'll have to wait just a little longer to find out.
Check out the video from Auto Express below for more.